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Seales v. Boston Housing Authority (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-178-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReportersjc.state.ma.us   14-P-1551                                       Appeals Court   TINA SEALES  vs.  BOSTON HOUSING AUTHORITY. No. 14-P-1551. Suffolk.     October 6, 2015. – November 16, 2015.   Present:  Cohen, Meade, & Agnes, JJ. Boston Housing Authority.  Housing Authority.  Municipal Corporations, Housing authority.  Practice, Civil, Action in nature of certiorari.  Administrative Law, Hearing, Substantial evidence, Judicial review.  Evidence, Hearsay. Controlled Substances.     Civil action commenced in the Boston Division of the Housing Court Department on January 23, 2014.   The case was heard by Jeffrey M. Winik, J., on a motion for judgment on the pleadings.     Angela Marcolina for the defendant. Alex Mitchell-Munevar for the plaintiff.      MEADE, J.  Tina Seales is a participant in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly referred to as “Section 8.”  The program is administered by the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1437f (2012), and related HUD regulations.  In August of 2013, Seales received notice that the BHA proposed to terminate her participation in the program due to serious or repeated violation of her lease.  Seales appealed the proposed termination.  Following an informal hearing, a hearing officer, by a decision dated January 2, 2014, upheld the termination of Seales’s Section 8 housing subsidy.  Thereafter, Seales successfully sought relief in the nature of certiorari under G. L. c. 249, § 4, in the Housing Court.  On appeal from that judgment, the BHA claims that the judge erred in determining that the hearing officer improperly found that criminal or illegal activity occurred on the rental premises that constituted a serious violation of Seales’s Section 8 lease.  We reverse. Background.  Seales resided at 25 Drayton Avenue in the Dorchester section of Boston.  She was a participant in the BHA’s Section 8 program and had been receiving Section 8 housing benefits for approximately fifteen years.  Seales lived with her three children, then ages sixteen, seventeen, and nineteen.  In August of 2013, Seales received notice that the BHA proposed to terminate her participation in the program due to a family member having engaged in drug-related activity and serious or repeated violation of her lease.[1]  The BHA based its allegations on a Boston police incident report, a leased housing recertification questionnaire, family obligations, and the lease itself. 1.  The incident report.  According to the Boston police incident report, on July 9, 2013, police Officers Femino, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm

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